Tools Of The Trade


amato_icon.gif shannon_icon.gif

Scene Title Tools of the Trade
Synopsis Amato meets the newest resident of the Garden, and they discuss their various hobbies and their dangers.
Date September 15, 2010

The Garden

After dinner at The Garden, even if the various residents don't sit to eat together for some reason or another, there's still plenty of work to be done. Dishes, for one, but also the evening chores in the horse barn. So by the time Amato has come back in from settling the three mares down for the evening, the crickets outside are in their full cry. There won't be many more nights filled with their strange song. As the evenings grow colder, so will their symphonies quiet.

The back door which leads into the kitchen swings with squeal of springs and hinges when he opens it to reenter the house, dressed in a sleeveless shirt and suspenders to hold up the brown pants he wears. He runs a hand through his blond hair, which is getting long enough again that it could stand a good cutting, and procedures toward the living room. Most evenings he sits in the kitchen, but tonight he could stand to sit by the fire with his book and soak in the light buzz of whatever chatter may be softly floating about the room.

Unfortunately he's not the only one who had the bright idea of relaxing in the living room. When he comes in there's already someone sprawled in a chair, her shoes set on the floor in front of her. She's laying across the chair, her head resting on one arm, one leg draped over the other.

Shannon arches a brow when suspender man arrives, her head tilting as she studies him. "I sure hope that you live here, otherwise I'm going to have to complain about the security in this place," she says as she eyes the suspenders and sniffs in his direction.

The smells Amato brings with him are honest ones. Sweat, hay, and horses. Smells that he would have shirked two years ago for the simple cleanliness of soap. Today, he doesn't mind them too much - they serve as reminders of the simple labors. All that being so, he'll still shower before he tucks himself into bed. He smiles softly at Shannon as he makes his way to a small shelf along one wall and extracts one of the older books housed there on his way to the couch.

"I live here," he admits with a reassuring nod, his voice an amalgamation of several European accents with a slightly stronger Italian flair. "You must be new." He takes a deep, cleansing, centering breath as he sits, letting his icy blue eyes close for a moment before he extends a hand to her. "My name is Amato."

Honest smells they may be, but they still seem to bother Shannon, who wrinkles her nose and leans back away from him, though she can't exactly go far. "How did you guess? Because I don't smell like a stable?" she asks, sarcasm seeming to be natural to her rather than anything specific to him. It just rolls off the tongue too easily for anything else.

Despite that, however, she does take his hand, albeit gingerly. It looks like she'd shake with a thumb and forefinger if she could. But it wouldn't do to alienate one of the other Garden residents. "Nice to meet you though. I'm Shannon."

The shake doesn't last long, and Amato's grip is not as strong as one might expect it to be, given his obvious occupation here at the safe house. "No," he answers with a shake of his head and a quizzical expression, the sarcasm either landing flat or unrecognized by the man. "I have just…lived here for some time. I left for awhile, it's true." After the place was raided. "But this is not the first time I have called this cottage…well, a sort of home, at least."

His smile widens slightly, and he adjusts his posture so that he is sitting in a more relaxed posture, leaning against the couch's back cushion. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Shannon," he says with a polite nod, his hands resting on the cover of the book in his lap. "Be assured that you will not necessarily be made to work in the stables. There are plenty of things you may be set to, including tending the vegetable garden." Of course, Shannon has certainly received this little lecture about pitching in already, and so Amato shakes his head and adopts an apologetic look. "Forgive me."

"Yeah, yeah. Helping out. But dirt? No thank you," Shannon says, shaking her head. "I'll be the resident cook. I'm good at it, and I'm sure people would love to not have to fix their own meals. Besides, I've never played in a garden a day in my life. And horses? Even worse. Pets should be smaller than you, not bigger than you and able to kill you with a kick to the head," is her opinion.

But Amato frowns, sitting up a little straighter despite not moving much. "Horses are not pets," he corrects gently. "They are tools. One may become attached to one, out of regular use or respect for the animal's power, or even admiration of their physical beauty." They are majestic - there is no denying that. "But these are feelings one might have for a favorite hammer or stock pot. Nothing more."

Shannon shrugs and tucks an arm beneath her head. "Yeah, well. I like my tools completely under my control. I choose where a hammer in my hand goes. Horses can go wherever the hell they want to. Including right on my head. So I'll still pass. Cooking. That's where it's at. Add various ingredients and they do what you want them to do. No guesswork. No chance. Just good food."

"No chance?" Amato chuckles. "With so many variables, it would seem that cooking is wrought with chance. Yes, some are controllable, such as the amount of spice you add to a dish, but some, such as the heat at which your oven stays, may be altered without your awareness to the fact." A smile curls into one corner of his mouth, making his eyes sparkle just slightly. "A good horse, a trained horse, will serve you well so long as you respect and do not fear it."

"Pfft. You wanna add a faulty oven to my example, then I'll add a snake or something to your horse. So don't tell me that horses always do what you want them to do. Except when a horse freaks out, people can get hurt or die. And you won't convince me otherwise," Shannon says with another shrug. "Anyway. Are you, like, an actual Ferrymen, or just someone stuck here to be safe?"


The answer is Amato's last word on the subject of which is more dangerous - cooking or tending horses - and he delivers it with a satisfied and smug sort of expression before he leans his head back and closes his eyes. "I am not a Ferrymem," he says with a slight frown, but it's unclear if the expression is because he wishes he were or if he finds such work undesirable. "But that is not to say I am without my own fair part of shepherding. For now, I am simply thankful for a place to rest my head and plenty of beautiful wilderness to keep the world at bay."

"Oh don't get me started on fugu. If you know what you're doing when you prepare it and don't screw up, you're safe," Shannon shoots back. "What do you mean about shepherding? Do you mean like actual shepherding to go with the smelly horses? Or you preach to the Garden or whatever?"

"Not in any official sense, no," Amato says with another shake of his head. "And we don't have room for sheep." That soft, saintly smile settles on his features again, even though he keeps his face toward the ceiling, his eyes closed. "But I do my best to offer what help I can, when asked." Not that he is asked very often.

"How did you come to be here, Shannon? May I ask that?"

"Thank god," is Shannon's response to the lack of actual sheep. "And I imagine I came here the same way most people did. I joined up, got pointed here as a place to stay. So like a good little Ferryperson, I grabbed my stuff and came here. Just been settling in for now, but probably start exploring soon. Not the sort of girl who stays still for too long."

"If you want my advice," Amato says with a slight shrug of his near shoulder, "you will stick to the greenbelt. The rest of this island is…less than desireable. It is either rotten with those who have long forgot what it means to be human, or else it is crawling with those whom you are better off not alerting to your presence."

"Who said I was going to stay on the island?" Shannon retorts. "New York's full of interesting things, and most of them aren't on this teeny little piece of crap island. I mean hell, this city's famous for it's shops, restaurants, theater…I don't think a person could ever get bored here unless they were lazy."

Amato lifts his head to look at Shannon, and after a few silent moments he stands to replace his book. "If such is your fancy," he deadpans, "Though I do hope that you are careful enough not to bring such…bustle back here." There are many reasons why The Garden is situated where it is. It's one of the more remote safe houses under the Ferryman's umbrella. But he could mean so many things with that word, given the emphasis he puts on it. And when Amato straightens after returning the book to the shelf, he fixes Shannon with a leveling, uncompassionate sort of gaze.

That gaze is returned evenly, with Shannon seeming to have no problem with it. She even smiles. "I'm many things, Amato, but stupid is not one of them. No one will come back here with me that I don't want coming back with me. And that would mean precisely no one. I don't like anyone enough for that." She shrugs and swings her legs over the arm of the chair and sits up, so she's seated properly. "Besides, if I did that I'd have to give up my comfy spot here, and I'm selfish enough not to want to do that."

But Amato just nods curtly in reply to such an assurance, a smirk flitting across his face before he bends at the waist in a silent farewell. He turns to head toward the stairs and the bath, in order to scrub away the more pungent of animal smells before slipping off to bed. Perhaps he'll read by the light of an oil lamp for awhile before he slips off to sleep, but the hour is getting late, and he'll have to rise early to feed and turn out the three mares.

A hand lifts and Shannon wiggles her fingers at Amato. "Nighty-night. I'd suggest a lengthy shower before bed, unless you like the smell of horses. Which, hey, if you do, go for it. I don't have to smell it," she calls to him as he slips off, before she slips into the kitchen for a snack. Either way, they probably won't see each other again for the rest of the night.

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